Italian Prime Minister Accompanied By His Foreign Minister On Working Visit To Algeria
This Monday, April 11th, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will arrive in Algeria, at the head of a large delegation, on a working visit dominated by the calculations of the Italian partner’s securing additional shipments of Algerian gas, in light of a burning crisis caused by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
The Italian guest, who will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, and the Minister of Environmental Transformation, Roberto Cingolani, will receive a remarkable welcome, as he will be received during this visit by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, before they meet at a dinner on Monday night to Tuesday, in a step that confirms the durability of relations between Algeria and Rome.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio was quoted by Ital Bras news agency as saying: “Tomorrow morning (Monday) I will be in Algeria with President Draghi. We will sign an important agreement on gas that will allow us to confront any blackmail,” referring to the ongoing conflict between Russia and other western countries about gas, because of what is happening in the east of the old continent.
Di Maio also stressed that “the Italian government is committed to increasing energy supplies, especially gas, from various international partners,” led by Algeria, which he described as a “reliable supplier”, at a time when there is coordination between Sonatrach and Eni in order to hike the pace of production to catch up with the partner country’s gas needs.
The head of Italian diplomacy added: “Unfortunately – we are late as a country, and we had to diversify very early but we have many partners and friends all over the world. During the past month and a half I have been in Algeria, Qatar, Angola, Congo, Mozambique and Azerbaijan, all of these countries have expressed expressing their willingness to increase their energy supplies to Italy and this will make us a more independent country”.
The Italian Prime Minister had a telephone conversation with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune last Friday, and the global energy crisis was at its center, especially the “Italian-Algerian Energy Agreement and Strategy”, as well as bilateral and multilateral files, including preparations for the upcoming bilateral government summit in Algeria, according to a previous statement, issued by the Palacio Chigi, the Government Palace in Rome.
Draghi also asked President Tebboune, during this call, to increase gas shipments by about nine billion cubic meters of gas per year, a request that Algeria responded to with great enthusiasm, in an encrypted message to the other partner, Spain, which lost preferential treatment in gas prices.
The visit of the Italian Prime Minister to Algeria comes as part of a series of mutual visits between the two countries, and the last visit of an Italian official dates back to last week, represented by Claudio Descalzi, President and General Manager of the energy giant “Eni”, and before that there was also a visit to Algeria, by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs on February 28th where he discussed with his counterpart Ramtane Lamamra the hike in gas supplies.
Algeria occupies the second place in terms of gas supply to Italy, and the “Enrico Mattei” pipeline linking Algeria and Italy through Tunisian soil and inaugurated in 1983, pumps about 22 billion cubic meters of gas, equivalent to about 29 percent, which raises the total annual shipments to More than thirty billion cubic meters per year at the old price, according to the Algerian ambassador in Rome, Abdelkrim Touahriye.
As a result, this raises the percentage to more than forty percent, and places it at the top of the gas-supplying countries, ahead of Russia, which is currently the first, by the equivalent of forty percent.